Bruce Sagan has played for dances, workshops, and concerts in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He has taught at a variety of folk music and dance camps and workshops, and has served as music director for Scandinavian Week in West Virginia (and its later incarnation, Nordic Fiddles and Feet) and Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Initially, Bruce was drawn to folk music and dance through the distinctive melodies and rhythms of the Balkan region. He has been playing and teaching music from the Balkans since the late 1970s. He has studied gûdulka (a Bulgarian bowed stringed instrument with resonating strings) with some of its top players and lived in Bulgaria to absorb more about the instrument.
Bruce also plays Scandinavian music on fiddle, Norwegian hardingfele, and Swedish nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle). He has visited Scandinavia numerous times to work with fiddlers and collect material. He was awarded the Zorn Diploma in Bronze on the basis of his playing before a jury of some of Sweden’s best fiddlers. This honor has been accorded to very few non-Swedes.
Bruce’s first album, Spelstundarna, won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. In a review of his second CD, With Friends, the premier Swedish folk music magazine Spelmannen wrote that he played “som en inföding” — “like a native.” This constitutes high praise in a country where it is often felt that you should only play tunes from your own village. His most recent recording, Leter From America with Brad Battey, was released in 2019.
In the warmer months you may also find Bruce dancing or playing with a morris team: he has been a member of Boston’s Black Jokers, the DC-area Foggy Bottom Morris Men, and is currently with Ann Arbor Morris.
Lest he suffer from having too much spare time, Bruce also maintains a vibrant career as an internationally respected mathematician.